Frank didn’t allow the depression that weighed him down yesterday to get at him again today. He decided he was going to serve his punishment and ensure Mr. Elisha was well attended to. At least that was the best he could do for the unfortunate man.
After cleaning him up this morning, he had decided to face his inner most discomfort by facing the source of this dilemma. So he took some time out to stare at the patient.
Somehow Frank wished the man would never wake up; he really felt it would be better for him to join his family in the world beyond.
But he took some seconds to wonder why anyone would be interested in such an ordinary man. They said he was just a gentle taxi driver. Perhaps the man had done something to some innocent people in the past and nemesis only just caught up on him.
Was nemesis going to catch up on him too for hurting so many girls? The nurse suddenly thought to himself. If nemesis existed then we deserve every bad thing that happened to us. If nemesis existed then no one was innocent because at a point in time everybody experience bad things. Frank wasn’t really sure if the bad things people experience at one time or the other was as a result of nemesis; he wasn’t sure nemesis existed. He always believed that everything that happened to people, weather good or bad was the after effect of the decision they take conflicting with the decisions others take.
He decided to take a walk around the hospital and chat up with some idle older nurses. As he walked towards two nurses sitting on the table close to the receptionist, he noticed two people walk into the hospital.
It was a man and a woman and they had the Holy Bible in their hands.
Oh these prayer warriors again, he thought even as he wondered why there were just the two of them. Perhaps others were on their way.
Frank watched them approach the receptionist before taking his attention off them. From where he stood, he could easily hear their conversation with the receptionist without making much effort to listen.
“Good morning,” the slim lady said. Frank couldn’t tell her age after noticing she acted like a tomboy. “Please we are evangelists and we will like to pray for some of your patients.”
The taller man was at her back and Frank wondered why such a man should decide to make a living out of evangelism. He looked strong enough to be at work and earn better money. Today was Tuesday and the man was here wasting all the energy in him.
“Alright, you can go to the wards this way,” the receptionist kindly answered and pointed towards her right. They were already used to evangelists especially at weekends.
“Thank you,” the slim lady said and made to walk towards the direction she had been directed to. Then she stopped, “Sorry please, I have just been ministered by the Holy Spirit to pray for unconscious patients this morning. Can you please direct me to the ward or room where I can see unconscious patients? Especially someone in coma.”
Now this got Frank’s attention. Was God trying to help his patient?
Before he could walk up to them, the receptionist was already directing them to him.
He was willing to help.
“You want to pray for unconscious patient?” He asked, with so much interest.
“Yes please, I was told you know someone in coma.” The lady replied with an air of confidence.
“Yes, I have a patient in coma, but you have to convince the cops who were assigned to watch him before you can see him.” Frank said as he led them towards the room.
“Cops? Is he an important person?” the lady asked, faking an interest.
“No, he was brought in here by the police and we are yet to get to his extended family members since his immediate ones were killed by the people who hurt him.”
“Wow,” the lady exclaimed and looked at the guy.
Frank thought he noticed a queer exchange of glance between them, especially from the guy, but quickly let it go.
“Don’t worry; we will talk to the cops. I believe we are here to see him for a reason, the God we serve did not direct us here in vain.”
They got to the tired looking cops sitting close to the door. There were two of them and Frank already knew that the hospital bored them.
“Good morning sirs, please we will like to pray for the patient in coma.” The lady said before they could say a word.
The men looked at each other and carefully observed the two.
“Alright, just make sure you ask God to wake him up soonest.” One of the policemen said.
Frank couldn’t tell if that was meant to be a joke. He opened the door and entered the room with Bella and Dimka.
“I just didn’t trust them.” Frank was speaking with Dozie, “The lady looked too strong to be an evangelist and the man wasn’t just good at faking it.”
Dozie almost laughed out, “What do you mean by ‘too strong to be an evangelist’? God can use whoever he likes, besides, why did you think fake evangelists would come to pray for your patient?”
“I don’t know,” Frank replied. When I looked into her eyes right after she finished praying, they were cold and emotionless. They were the eyes of a very dangerous person. As for the man, his body language said it all. There was nothing real in the way he acted.”
“I still think the way you have been feeling about that man is still affecting you and you are now overreacting and seeing things. Just take it easy man soon you will finish with your punishment and you will get over this whole thing.” Dozie didn’t want to discuss about the man in coma anymore so he changed the subject. “Have you called that girl you spent the night with yesterday?”
“What girl?” Frank asked with a genuine look of confusion on his face. He had also easily allowed the change in topic.
They were drinking beer at Classidy Wine Bar, their regular drinking spot. As usual, the bar was bubbling with friends and lovers while pop music wafted from the two big speakers at the two corners of the open space. The music was not loud enough to disrupt their conversation.
“Tessy, the girl you spent last night with.” Dozie was frustrated with the way his friend was acting.
“Tessy, is that her name? I don’t even have her number.”
“Agnes called me earlier this evening, complaining that we have neglected them because we have gotten what we wanted from them. But I told her that I have been busy all day and you were having emotional problems.”
“Emotional problems? You must be a clown.” The nurse scoffed and remained silent.”
“Hey, what’s eating you up?” Dozie asked. Usually, Frank would jump into such discussions and would start making plans on how to invite the girl again. What was it about this man in coma that was making him act different? Dozie thought to himself.
He waited for Frank to speak up.
“Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking.” Frank thoughtfully said.
“By lately, I guess you mean since yesterday.” Dozie wasn’t asking a question, he was making a declaration.
“Yes… you know, I took some time out this morning and observed that man in coma and then I tried to imagine what he had gone through. What he saw those mean people do to his family must have been too much for him to bear and that was why his whole system shut down.” He stopped and pulled himself closer to Dozie, like he wanted him to listen attentively. “Then I asked myself what he had done to merit such treatment, what if it was nemesis? What if he deserved it? I also thought about the people who killed his whole family and probably made him watch. What kind of people are they? Why did they feel they were justified to carry out such an act? Are they really bad people? Who is bad?”
“What do you intend to achieve with all these questions?” Dozie asked “Do you want to wake him up or something? Are you trying to make yourself crazy?”
“No, I am not trying to make myself crazy; I am trying to understand some things about us humans. You know I have always loved psychology… I always try to be nice to everyone I come across and I have been priding myself to be a friendly easy going person yet I have almost all the young nurses at my work place hating me all because I took their emotions for granted. Perhaps I am as bad as those men who hurt Mr. Elisha and his family. What makes me better than those men?”
Dozie only wondered why his friend liked taking things too far. Frank loved to read meaning into anything that happened to him. Yet, Dozie saw some sense in what he was saying. But as far as he was concerned, life was cruel and there was nothing anyone could do about it. “Where exactly are you going with all these?”
“All I am trying to say is…maybe they deserve what I did to them but doesn’t that mean I will also pay for what I did to them one way or the other? And who knows in what form my punishment will come?”
“Is this fear I am sensing? Are you afraid that what happened to your patient might happen to you because of some bad things you might have done to somebody in the past?” Dozie asked. He was surprised at this realization.
“Of course I am scared and that is why I want to change for good. I want to seek out pleasure in a way that I will not hurt anyone. No one has to pay for my happiness.”
“Okay and how do you intend to do that?” Dozie asked.
“First of all, I want to be loved and I found out that I can’t get love if I don’t give love and this entails dedication and sacrifice.” Frank said.
“Wow, you thought about all these just between yesterday and today?”
Frank laughed and said, “I have been thinking about my love life in recent times because I realized that I still felt empty and unfulfilled after sleeping with all these women. What happened yesterday only gave me the strength to make a firm decision.”
Now this was getting interesting, Dozie wondered how a dedicated Frank would act like. He had learnt so much about human nature and women from the nurse and was sure he would learn so much about real love from him.
He just hoped that the new Frank wouldn’t be boring; coming to Umuagu City six months had been a huge break from all the hassles of life he had gone through in his home and meeting the ever jovial Frank had been a great relief. The male nurse had opened up a brighter and fun-filled side of life for him.
Umuagu Town had given him nothing but a breath of fresh air.
“So how do you intend to go about this?” he asked.
“I will just…” Frank’s reply was cut short by the sudden vibration of his mobile phone on the table. He stopped speaking and picked it up; it was Linda, he answered the call, “Hello Linda… yes I am free, just come to Classidy Wine Bar.” He stopped and looked at Dozie before continuing with the call, “yes I am here with Dozie what do you expect… alright I will be here.” He cut the call.
“Why did she have to hesitate when you told her I was with you?” Dozie asked.
Frank dropped the phone on the table and signaled to the waiter for more beer, “You noticed? Well, she was deciding if she would come here or not. But she will be here any moment from now.” Frank noticed Dozie shift uncomfortably on his chair, “Relax boy, she is not going to eat you.”
Dozie couldn’t help feeling anxious. The effect Linda had on him was something beyond his control.
Her presence had a way subduing all his years of harsh experience and life of ruthlessness and thuggery. She makes his hardened heart melt whenever she was around him.
She came in sooner that they had expected looking magnificent in a plain red tight and long gown.
Her eyes locked with Dozie’s for a split second and the young man almost fainted. God! She was a real angel. He suddenly began to perspire and he prayed that she wouldn’t notice his discomfort.
Frank noticed it but Linda didn’t.
Dozie quickly ordered for another bottle of drink just to distract himself from thinking about her.
He was glad to see her; she just looked exactly the way she had looked in his dream last night after he had heard she was in town. But he couldn’t say if her presence was a curse or blessing.
It was going to be a long evening.
“I was with the Police Commissioner this afternoon and he was trying to find out why we have to keep on funding the medical bills of a man who might die any time from now.” The Assistant Police Superintendent was saying to Inspector Ahmed. He was a very fat man who looked like he shouldn’t have any business with the police force.
Ahmed already suspected that this was why the ASP has asked to see him this evening. He was even more frustrated because the patient was not showing any sign of recovery. He couldn’t understand why Elisha was still in coma up till now given the fact that he didn’t sustain any head injury. “I am very positive that the patient will not die sir, he just fainted because of the terrible things he saw being done to his family sir,”
“You don’t know for certain if he will wake up. You know the police force does not have enough money for this kind of project. At this stage his family members should take his medical bills,” the ASP said and relaxed on his leather seat. His office was a very classy one, such that every policeman dreamt of having.
But Ahmed preferred solving cases and putting criminals away to having expensive office as this. “We have not been able to reach any of his extended family yet… we can’t just pull the plug sir, he is the only one who can give us information about what happened and this may help us get the offenders.”
The big man shook his head in disagreement, “We are not even sure he has the information we need. Besides he could die without waking up and all the money we have spent will be in vain. Why don’t we let him go… he is just a taxi driver and his whole family is gone?”
Ahmed knew that the main reason why the authorities weren’t interested in the case was because the patient was not an important figure in the society. “I am just concerned that the psychos who killed his family could hurt another person if they are not apprehended. It is very important that we do everything possible to find out what actually led them to hurting that family. We can’t just let go of the only lead we have,” Ahmed tried, “okay, can I be given two days?”
The ASP looked at him for some time. “We will pull the plug on Thursday if he does not wake up by then, understand?”
Ahmed knew this was the best he would get, “Yes sir,” he stood up and saluted his boss before leaving.
He knew he would be greatly troubled for a long time if he lost Elisha without hearing from him.
By the time Bella and Dimka came home that evening, Banjo was already calm; his meditation had helped a lot in achieving this state of psychological condition. It had also helped him believe that the outcome of their mission would definitely be helpful.
He almost laughed out when he saw Bella once again looking all holy in her born again attire. Banjo believed that Christians who claim to be born again were confused people who knew nothing about the spirituality they claim they possess. His Bella wasn’t a confused girl.
“He is still in serious coma and the doctor does not know when he will wake up.” Bella explained.
“Yea, the man looks more dead than alive,” Dimka said. He was Banjo’s right hand man. They had met seven months ago on a day he was almost lynched my mob for harassing a lady. Banjo had come to his rescue, claiming to be a cop. Dimka was surprised to find out that the big confident man was nothing near being a cop. He had further been fascinated by the strange man’s attachment to fetishism and other strange concepts. Somehow Banjo had made him understand that knowledge about spiritual things was the ultimate and there was more to life than just the physical. Banjo also coached him on how to be a real bad boy.
Dimka’s main duty was to help Banjo out source for reliable criminals whenever Banjo needed them. Banjo had no gang of his own, so he usually hired them when there was need for operation.
“How could such a dumb man be the seer? He was supposed to just faint and wake up hours later. How could he be in coma for more than twenty four hours and counting?” Banjo wondered out loud.
“The problem now is that we don’t even have any idea when he will wake up, that is if he eventually does.” Bella complained.
“He will wake up; Prince said he will just as long as we have ignited all that he had repressed in his subconscious with what we did to him.” Banjo recalled the last conversation he had with Prince just hours after the attack on Elisha’s family.
“Do not be worried yet,” the invisible being that had identified itself as Prince had said to him, “You have already sent his soul on a fact finding mission.”
Banjo had remained silent, waiting for the voice to continue.
“While he is unconscious, his spirit being will try to understand why such horrible thing was done to his family. Even if he is going to die, he will surely first of all wake up with whatever he finds out before giving up the ghost. Right now, the choice to stay alive is in his hands.” There was silence, “he is the seer; he will sure tell was he sees.”
Prince had been impressed by the way Banjo had handled Elisha’s family and Banjo was glad that he had impressed the first spiritual being that had contacted him in person.
Banjo never ever considered himself a killer even though, once in a while, he had had to kill virgins or infants for certain rituals. The fact was that he never killed because he enjoyed the act even though he never felt any remorse.
But from the way he had handled the seer and his family, one would think he was a professional killer who usually did it for fun.
They had given the unsuspecting family a surprised visit that morning. It was a rickety two bedroom flat that was situated in low cost area of Umuagu. They had taken the gate man who looked more like a tenant in the small house close to the already fallen gate than a hired worker along with them into the house.
Gladly, the whole family was at home and before they could react to the surprised visit, Banjo and his crew had already held them captive.
Banjo had gone for the operation with Bella, Dimka and two other rogues that were hired by Dimka. Their names were Bulus and Otega. This wasn’t the first time the two were going on a mission with Banjo, but they thought something was different about this operation. Banjo looked very fierce and determined, like he was being control by one of those things he worshiped.
Of course the invisible spirit of Prince was there with them and monitoring the operation.
He had earlier instructed Banjo on what he should do, “Everything about what happened in his past life could be in his conscious or deep in his unconscious mind. You must use whatever means you can to retrieve every information from him. You must never be soft on him, violence or traumatic events could help people remember things they never think they can remember. Sometimes these events surface in disguise in their dreams something it just pops up. If that is his case, the reincarnated seer will not find it difficult to remember his past life,”
Banjo had listened attentively, “What if we try everything we can and he does not remember?” he asked.
“One thing you must have in mind is that the knowledge is there somewhere in the mind. An extreme way of retrieving important past life information is by putting the person in a trance through hypnosis. Now, I don’t think you can do that. This mean we have to go hard on him, hurt his emotions and force him to go into unconscious without hurting his body.”
Banjo had understood and that was why he had raided the family with so much ferocity; he didn’t intend to leave the crime scene without achieving anything.
He had first of all sliced the throat of the house girl and gateman without asking the taxi driver any question. This was to let the man know he meant business.
“Oh please! What do you want from us? We have done nothing wrong, please do not hurt us.” Elisha had cried. He was being held down by Dimka while Bulus and Otega held unto the kids. Bella was pointing a gun at his wife. On the floor, the two wounded people continued to struggle with life as blood gushed out of the openings in their throat.
“I did that so as to ensure you give us what we want, no matter how impossible it might seem.”
The look on Elisha’s face revealed that he was sure there was nothing to offer, and there was no need for them to continue with the violence.
“Something happened in your past life and this was a very long time ago. Right now we want you to remember it and give us very important information.” Banjo carefully said.
Now Elisha was obviously confused. What does this guy mean by past life? Did such thing exist? What exactly was this psycho expecting from him? He looked at his terrified family and wondered if this was all a dream.
“Can you remember anything about you past life… perhaps in dreams or something?”
Elisha shook his head sideways. There was fright written in his eyes.
“You can’t remember having any gift to see the future or to know things about people?” Banjo pressured.
“No!” Elisha cried.
“Too bad, then we have to force you to remember.” To Dimka, “Sit him up and make him watch.
Banjo picked up the children and carefully sliced their throat one by one.
They screamed and called out for their father’s help, but the man just sat captive in Dimka’s strong hands. Hot and painful tears fell from his eyes as he watched his children struggle for life. He was sure the pain he felt inside him was more than whatever his little innocent kids felt. And by the time Banjo stabbed the last child, who was just an infant, Elisha was already turning into vegetable. His body system began to give away.
There was blood all over the floor and the stench was so strong that Elisha felt he was eating his children.
To him, this was just a dream; he would soon wake up.
Banjo walked up to him, there was no sign of remorse on his expressionless face. “Do you remember anything now?” His voice was cold; it was the voice of death.
Elisha did not reply. He just looked into the big muscled man’s eyes as he struggled to breathe. Elisha knew he was crying inside him, but he didn’t understand why there was no sound coming from his lips, instead the lips remained opened as he inhaled a large chunk of air and exhaled seconds later.”
Banjo smiled, “You don’t want to talk,” perhaps the man was going to faint, he thought. He thought it was time they take him deeper into unconscious. “Do his wife.” He commanded Bella.
Elisha’s wife wasn’t crying out loud. She was just sobbing softly. The voice was helpless and painful. The only thing she prayed for at the moment was for death to come and take her away. The desire for death was so strong that it felt like hope.
Bella dragged her closer to her husband. This was the height of excitement for her. She was having the best fun of her life and couldn’t wait to make sweet, passionate and wild love to Banjo once this was over.
Husband and wife looked into each other’s eyes without exchanging any form of communication. But both saw pain.
The whole scene was sickening, even Bulus and Otega wondered what sort of humans they were dealing with. They couldn’t wait to leave the scene.
Bella raised her hand and stabbed her on the tummy. She left the knife in there even as blood covered her hand and gushed down to the floor.
Elisha gave up and lost consciousness before the next action from the girl.
From a distance, the sound of siren was heard.
Banjo wasn’t expecting this. His intention was to carry Elisha along with him once he fainted, but with this interruption, they had to leave the scene in other to avoid further complications.
Now the man was still in coma and no one had any idea when he would be regaining consciousness.
He looked at Bella, “is this all you found out?”
“Well, I remember the nurse mentioning that he hoped God answers our prayers because the authorities of the police force might not keep him under the machine for long, but he didn’t have details on this development.” She said, hoping the information would help her genius lover reason out something.
“Mnnn… I wonder how long they might keep him.” The spiritualist wondered out loud.
“I still suggest we raid the hospital and take the body, the security I saw was not intimidating. We could take a doctor or nurse along with us. We just have to be with him when he wakes up so as to avoid further complications.” Bella re-suggested.
This time around, Banjo thought it was a nice idea. He looked at Dimka, “get me 5men for tomorrow’s operation. We are going to raid the hospital. Make sure that you get a smart driver; I will pay two N250 into each of their accounts once they accept to do the job and a balance of N250 after a successful operation.”
“Alright,” Dimka answered and left the room. He would definitely get interested boys this evening.
“Thank you very much for a job well done,” Banjo said to Bella. “How would you like me to show my appreciation?”
“Just take off your cloths and have rough and passionate sex with me.” She replied
Banjo quickly took off his cloths, revealing an intensely tattooed body. He walked up to Bella and tore off the cloths from her body and then he lifted her up and slammed her on the chair.
Linda opened the door to her self contained apartment and fell on the bed. She was very tired and was glad she wasn’t feeling hungry. The boys had made her eat and drink until she was full.
It had been a fun day with Frank; any day with Frank was fun. He was her best friend in the world for now but was that enough? Was she really happy with just having a fun filled male friend?
She had tried these past weeks to pretend that the kind of friendship she got from Frank was enough but she knew she was just deceiving herself.
She was lonely.
Yes, she knew that this state of affair was partly her fault because she had succeeded in scaring men away from herself by being arrogant.
Earlier in life, she had never thought that she was going to be this sort of person to men. She had always looked forward to being a soft lover and giving all the best life could give into her relationship. But the little experience she had had with men when she was an undergraduate had made her understand that men took soft loving women for granted. Some saw it as a sign of weakness and would want to take advantage of such a lady. They would cheat on her, disrespect her and dump her for a lady they considered tough.
She had learnt the hard way, especially with her last relationship before she graduated. He had been a lazy guy who spent most of his time drinking and doing nothing. She loved him but he used her; made her spent her money on him and got nothing, not even love, in return.
He was her life, so cute and desirable. But she had lost because she was soft and loving. She had cheaply given in to his advances and he had seen her as weak.
Men loved them tough, she had come to believe. And so she toughened up. She became rude and arrogant and surprisingly it was reinforcing. It made her feel powerful and in charge of men that she was used to believing were supposed to be in charge of her. The feeling was good.
But looking at her situation today she was forced to ask herself if it was all worth it.
She had unintentionally learnt how not to allow a man control her or make her do what he wanted her to do. But was she really the kind of person men want? She had unknowingly made herself a lonely person with a loveless life. Now she was alone.
At first she had enjoyed the way she made Dozie feel. Yes, she knew he liked her but he reminded her of her ex. He was lazy and jobless. He probably was waiting to woo an unsuspecting girl so that he could feed on her. Perhaps that was how he got his money.
Of course, most girls would want to have him as their man and Linda was sure most of the stupid ones would not mind parting with their hard earned money so as to have him around them.
Men, they were all the same, full of tricks and deceiving girls with innocent looks. This was exactly what she thought of Dozie.
Yet she wasn’t ready to evaluate her feelings for him. She wasn’t just ready to give that a thought.
She rolled over the bed and wished a man was with her on it, cuddling and making her feel warm. How long will this continue?
Then she remembered Dozie; the way he had looked at her when she entered the bar. Did she see desire?
Oh, this wasn’t the kind of thinking she needed at the moment, she just needed to sleep.
In his room, Dozie, despite the alcohol in his system, was dreaming about her. It was a heavenly dream as she yielded to his touch and leaned on his body. While he continued to enjoy the moment, the dream suddenly changed. Linda had now disappeared and he was all alone; the fear that had haunted him for nights came back. It was the face he had dreaded, the face that meant terror to him. It was the man that had terrorized Obaga City and he was coming towards him with a knife; he was going to cut his head off. Just as he raised his hand to strike, Dozie woke up.
He sat up and looked around his room. He was perspiring and now very sober.
He knew that the reoccurring dream was a reminder that he was not safe from the monster that was determined to take his life. Sadly, he didn’t know how close the monster was in finding him. But he knew time would soon run out; he could feel it in his guts.
Author’s contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08027410988